An organization in Bloomington introduced an addiction treatment agenda following its recently submitted petition to Sen. Joe Donnelly over concerns of U.S. Court of Appeals judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The organization, Hoosier Action, consists of multiple Bloomington residents who have come together to preserve a suitable way of life. It fights for small-town rights by establishing connections among families across Indiana.
“Hoosier Action was founded by community organizer Kate Hess Pace, whose family goes back five generations in Southern Indiana,” said Jeff Greene, the media outreach coordinator of Hoosier Action. “Her goal was to create a vehicle for working class families to have their voices heard and for action to be taken to improve their lives. It is a direct response to witnessing despair, poverty and addiction in her own community and statewide.”
Last week, Pace’s team filed a petition to Donnelly in response to Kavanaugh’s judicial nomination to fill the position previously held by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“The petition opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was largely assembled in the week during his hearing from a combination of online signatures, phone banking and text banking,” Greene said. “It covered 25 municipalities including Republican strongholds, which tells us that many Hoosiers are concerned despite party affiliation. It’s encouraging to me that people are feeling a need to participate, but it also shows how much there is to do in Indiana to improve our collective lives.”
Hoosier Action hosts events to inform people about important issues, including local community functions and politics. It also runs campaigns, such as the Care Agenda — which was recently launched to promote awareness about the necessity for healthcare, drug addiction treatment and mental health services.
“The Care Agenda itself was formulated from over 18 months of knocking on thousands of doors and discovering the issues that Indiana citizens care about most,” Greene said.
Monroe County, where Hoosier Action is based, has been at the forefront of the opioid epidemic.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Monroe County has reported 14 drug poisoning deaths, 10 involving opioids, in 2018. Last year, 15 out of the 26 drug poisoning fatalities were related to opioids.
To support its grassroots efforts, Hoosier Action relies on multiple sources of funding, including state and federal support.
“The vast majority of funding for Hoosier Action and its initiatives comes from its dues-paying membership,” Greene said. “Although we are a local partner of the Center for Popular Democracy, a national network that offers support.”
He added that Hoosier Action plans to propose an initiative to direct 2 percent of every Indiana city budget toward drug rehab and mental health services.
The group is also seeking funding from the 2019 state budget to expand healthcare services for youths who need mental health treatment.
“We want to remove the stigma of addiction and increase access to mental health and addiction treatment services statewide,” Greene said.
He also highlighted that the organization gives Indiana residents the ability to stand up for their needs.
“Every day working families need more than just a voice in Indiana,” Greene said. “They need legitimate influence over policy that is currently being guided by billionaires and corporate interests. That sounds massive, but this is how change is accomplished; by empowering people as stakeholders in their own wellbeing.”